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Career

Amanda Billing's epic love story

Starring in Shakespeare's classic play Macbeth, Amanda raves "you can tell I've fallen in love."

By Hayley McLarin
We all have that friend – one who is so deliriously happy, they have to tell you about it in raptured detail. They beam and their eyes sparkle.
Former Shortland Street actress Amanda Billing is one of those people. She is infatuated and can't stop raving about it.
"I love every single thing about what I am doing right now," the 41-year-old says. "I've fallen in love!"
Her object of ardour is well known, but even Amanda was surprised by how taken she is with William Shakespeare after being cast as Lady Macbeth in "the Scottish play" at Auckland's Pop-up Globe, a recreation of London's historic Globe Theatre.
"I still remember studying Macbeth at school with my friends, having lols about 'Out, damned spot!' because we were of the generation of Spot the Dog," she recalls.
"There's one way to kill Shakespeare and that's to get a class of 15-year-olds to read it aloud every day for a week. It's not meant to be read – it is meant to be heard, seen and performed in a grand building like the one we do it in. It's magic."
Known for her long stint as Dr Sarah Potts on Shorty, Amanda's latest role sees her playing a "ruthless b**, a ball-breaker who is hard on her husband yet would say she loves him and is immensely loyal to him".
She says, "Soaps are full of people killing others to get the better in life." But parallels between Shorty and Shakespeare end there.
"With these plays, you have to pay attention to the words. You can't do the dishes and chat to your boyfriend. But at the Globe, you can talk to the actors and no-one is going to shush you if you cheer or boo. There is blood on the stage – and fighting without stunt doubles. This is the sort of spectacle people are craving. You can tell I've fallen in love."
Amanda also plays three parts in the Globe's production of The Comedy of Errors and she'd love to travel with the theatre.
She fantasises about roles on award-winning overseas shows too, but she knows longtime gigs like her 10-year tenure on Shorty are few and far between.
The former teacher laughs, "Anyone who thinks their job is for keeps is dreaming – the world doesn't work like that any more!"

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